Wednesday, January 20, 2021


Post by Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

Rock Ledge Ranch is a living history museum that sits right at the southeast corner to the main entrance to The Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs. During the summer visitors can walk or take guided tours and learn the history of the area from the early Natives right through the beginning of the twentieth century. There is nothing like learning history from people who have studied and share it through first-person narratives.

This winter they opened the area as a park for those who would enjoy hiking the grounds. It is different as you walk the trails by yourself. It allows the imagination to roam as it will. Walking up to the Galloway homestead site without other people around can give you a sense of what it might have been like when the homestead was built. It captured my attention when I visited years ago in the summer. It drew me like a moth to a flame in the winter.

Photo property of the author

The above is the view coming upon the site. The corral is to the left of the reconstructed one-room cabin. It is believed Walter Galloway build his cabin on this site around 1867 and officially filed the homestead claim in  1871.

Northside of the cabin
Photo property of the author

Outhouse, located south of the corral
Photo property of the author

The south side of the cabin
Photo property of the author

This small cabin inspires so many thoughts of how one lived during this time. A one-room would have been fine for one person in, but what if it held a family?  So many questions that lead one to a story. 

I leave you with an excerpt from the short story I had in the anthology " The Untamed West". A cabin similar to the one pictured is how I saw the home of my heroine in the story, 'The Homestead'.

Ruth placed the axe against her left leg, rubbing her tired shoulder muscles with calloused hands. She noticed rain clouds hanging low against the northwestern sky, as though they were waiting for some signal to move.

Ruth watched the same pattern all spring that seemed to be repeating itself this fall. Her eyes, tired and sad, stared at the hated lonely stretch of land, the small piece of the greater high desert at the mountain's base in the new Colorado Territory. She'd hated the place when Joseph had brought them here. Hated it even more now. She was a prisoner. Not as most would think, but a prisoner she knew herself to be. She was hemmed in by the endless stretch of land to the east and south, the dark, high mountains to the west and forest to the north.

"It's amazing how love will lead you to the loneliest places," she told the blowing wind. Wind that told of the coming storm.

Sighing, Ruth turned back to the pile of wood she'd dragged in. Again, she picked up the newly sharpened axe, intending to finish before the storm arrived.

"Mother, Mother," Ruth heard excitement and fear in her five-year-old son Samuel's voice.

Heart pounding, Ruth moved away from the wood she was chopping. She turned to see Samuel standing some twenty feet away. He was standing statue still, not moving.


Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet



  1. I bet you would love the movie, Conagher starring Sam Elliott and his wife, Katherine Ross. I immediately thought of that movie as I read your excerpt. Hubby and I watch it several times a year. Great ending to your excerpt....I bet there's a coiled rattler that has Samuel terrified and the axe is significant. Yep, you got my writer's imagination going, Doris. Good job and I love the pictures. Do you have any interior shots, although I notice the windows are boarded up.

  2. I left a comment but don't know where it went. Great excerpt, Doris.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. I don't have interiors, the site was closed for the season. Perhaps this summer I can get there and maybe get some shots.

      Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. It was a story that just nagged me until I wrote it. Doris